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What Is An Itn Number

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									                                                        what’s your number?
Rating the world
The ITF International
Tennis Number (ITN)
                                                        International Tennis Number


A guide to the ITF International Tennis Rating System
    Rating the world: the ITF International Tennis Number (ITN)
    The ITF is delighted to announce the launch of an International Tennis Rating System for world tennis. The rating system will be
    known as the ITF International Tennis Number or simply ‘ITN’ for short. It is envisaged that in a relatively short time, all tennis
    players worldwide will be allocated an ITN between one and ten and that this number will correspond to their general level
    of competitive play.

    This document outlines how the ITN has been developed in conjunction with experts from some of the leading tennis nations
    and explains how the ITF believe it can be used by its member nations to increase participation in tennis worldwide.


    Marketing the game – the drive for growth
                                      In 1997, the ITF began a long-term international marketing research project to ascertain
                                      participation trends and attitudes to the game of tennis. The research showed that tennis
                                      continues to grow in the vast majority of ITF member nations. However, some concerns in the
                                      more mature tennis nations were highlighted.

                                      Building on this three-year research, the ITF developed a series of activities that focused on
                                      increasing tennis participation and growth of the game. The initiative involved a number of key
                                      partners who influence and contribute to the growth of the game including:

                                      • National and Regional Associations
                                      • leading players
                                      • the tennis industry
                                      • sports marketing and communication experts
                                      • development directors of the respective tennis organisations.

                                      Upon completing this research, a decision was made to organise the ‘Marketing the Game’
                                      Summit in September 2000. The top (most mature) tennis nations together with the ATP, WTA
                                      Tour and other constituents of the game met with the ITF to discuss how best to market the game
                                      of tennis and increase participation, whether it be the number of:

                                      • players coming into the game
                                      • spectators and followers of the game
                                      • purchasers of tennis related material.

                                      Following on from the ‘Marketing the Game’ Summit, it was decided to implement a number
                                      of projects including the development of an international tennis rating system.

                                      In early 2001, the ITF set up the International Tennis Rating Taskforce with its overall mission
                                      statement being:

                                      ‘To create, utilise and promote an international tennis rating system that will
                                      help grow all levels of competitive tennis participation worldwide.’

                                      This Taskforce consists of experts in competition and rating systems from some of the world’s
                                      leading tennis nations and is chaired and co-ordinated by ITF Executive Director of Development,
                                      Dave Miley.




1
The objectives of the ITF International Tennis Rating System
               The International Tennis Rating System will provide a method of classifying skill levels of tennis
               players’ globally which in turn can help:

               • encourage more playing of tennis
               • unite tennis under a common rating language
               • encourage national associations to implement a tennis rating system in their own country
               • promote a variety of tennis competition formats, which are linked to the tennis rating system
               • give more options for finding compatible playing partners and therefore more enjoyable
                 competitive play
               • facilitate the movement of all levels of players between countries.

               It is believed that current tennis rating systems linked to a country’s competitive structure have
               played a crucial part in increasing the number of people playing tennis.

               For example, in the Netherlands where a national rating system linked to the competitive
               structure has been in place for many years now, over 5% of the population are registered fee
               paying members of the Dutch Tennis Federation (KNLTB).



What is a rating and how does it differ from a ranking?
               A rating is a description of standard that is used to determine the general competitive level of
               a player. It groups players of a similar level together within a category. The most famous example
               of a global rating in sport is the golf handicap. The relative level of players within each category
               is not determined by the rating system. This is the job of a ranking system.

               A ranking is a more accurate estimate of the relative standard of players, based upon specific
               tournament results or competitions. A ranking is a comparison of similarly ‘rated’ players based on
               results of players within a specific rating category. For example in the proposed ITN 1 rating category
               (see chart on page 4), ATP / WTA rankings would represent a ranking within this rating category.

               Most national associations use rankings that they produce on a regular basis at various levels of
               their national game. However the ITF estimates that there are less than 20 countries worldwide
               that have a national rating system.
    The development of the ITF International Tennis
    Rating System - the ‘ITN’
                  Following an initial meeting of the Taskforce in July 2001, a strategy was formulated to develop
                  an international tennis rating system that could be used by national associations which currently
                  have no national rating system, and could also be used in conjunction with those rating systems
                  currently in place in some of the more established tennis nations.

                  The Taskforce, with help and advice of a tennis marketing company, decided on a name for the
                  rating system – the ITF International Tennis Number or ‘ITN’.



    What is the ITN?
                  The ITN is an international tennis number that represents a player’s general level of play.
                  In time it is hoped that every tennis player worldwide will have an ITN .

                  Under this system players will be rated from ITN 1 – ITN 10. ITN 1 represents a high level player
                  (holding an ATP/WTA ranking or of an equivalent playing standard) and ITN 10 is a player who
                  is new to the game.

                  A ‘Description of Standard’ has been developed to describe each of the ten rating categories.
                  A concise summary of this Description of Standard is shown on page 5. Approved by the ITF
                  Coaches Commission and the ITF International Tennis Rating Taskforce, it is hoped this guide
                  will enable players to be accurately rated. Whilst trying to make the Description of Standard
                  as precise as possible, the Taskforce has attempted to keep it simple and not too technical.
                  The intention is that it should be easy to understand and useful for both the player and/or
                  the assessor (coach/administrator).

                  This Description of Standard has also avoided rating players purely on the technical assessment
                  of individual shots. Instead it has used as its basis:

                  • the general characteristics of various playing levels
                  • the five-game/tactical situations of tennis (e.g. serving, returning, both at baseline,
                    approaching, passing) and
                  • the game-style of the player.




3
The ITF International Tennis Number - the ‘ITN’
                              The following is a concise summary of the ten ITN categories:




what’s your number?
                              ITN | 1


                                                                                                 1
                                            This player has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the
                                            junior and senior levels and has extensive professional tournament experience.
                                            Holds or is capable of holding an ATP / WTA ranking and major source of income
                                            is through tournament prize money.


                              ITN | 2

                                           2This player has developed power and / or consistency as a major weapon.
                                            Can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation. Is usually a
                                            nationally ranked player.




                                                                                                 3
International Tennis Number

                              ITN | 3       This player has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot
                                            or attribute around which a game may be structured. Can regularly hit winners
                                            and force errors off short balls. Can put away volleys and smashes and has a
                                            variety of serves to rely on.


                              ITN | 4

                                           4This player can use power and spin and has begun to handle pace. Has sound
                                            footwork, can control depth of shots, and can vary game plan according to
                                            opponents. Can hit first serves with power and can impart spin on second serves.


                              ITN | 5

                                                                                                 5
                                            This player has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on
                                            both ground strokes and on moderate shots. Has the ability to use lobs,
                                            overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success.




                                           6
                              ITN | 6       This player exhibits more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage,
                                            improved shot control and is developing teamwork in doubles.


                              ITN | 7
                                                                                                 7
                                            This player is fairly consistent when hitting medium paced shots, but is not yet
                                            comfortable with all strokes. Lacks control over depth, direction and power.


                              ITN | 8

                                           8
                                            This player is able to judge where the ball is going and can sustain a short rally
                                            of slow pace.


                              ITN | 9
                                                                                                 9
                                            This player needs on court experience but strokes can be completed with
                                            some success.




                               ITN


                               ITN
                                           10
                              ITN | 10 This player is starting to play competitively (can serve and return / rally)
                                            on a full court using a normal ITF approved ball.

                                     | 10.1* This player is able to rally with movement and control.
                                     | 10.2* This player has developed some simple tennis-specific skills in hitting an
                                             oncoming ball regularly, however rallying with movement and control is not
                                             yet achieved.
                               ITN   | 10.3* This player is in the early stages of tennis skills development and is primarily
                                             learning simple tennis co-ordination tasks / exercises.

                              * The ITN 10.1 to ITN 10.3 categories will usually involve playing in a modified environment
                              e.g. using transition / soft balls on a reduced court and / or using adapted rackets as appropriate.



                              The ITN…what’s your number?

                                                                                                                                     4
    Why use only ten rating categories?
                  The number of rating categories is limited to ten to ensure that the system is simple, easily
                  understood and relatively easy to promote and to use. The number of rating categories was
                  discussed extensively by the Taskforce and, while recognising that the rating categories could
                  be expanded at national level, the ITF’s intention is to persevere on an international basis with
                  ten rating categories. However, the rating categories ITN 1 – ITN 10 should not be restrictive
                  and national associations should be able to expand and adapt by adding sub-levels within
                  each category (e.g. 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 etc) if they feel it is beneficial to tennis in their country.



    Growing the game - the importance of the ITN 10 category
                  Within the ITN 10 category, three sub-categories (ITN 10.1, ITN 10.2 and ITN 10.3) have been
                  developed to take account of those adults and young children who have started to play tennis
                  but are not yet ready to play competitively on a full court with a normal ITF approved ball.

                  The progression from ITN 10.3 to ITN 10 will see these players (usually within their lessons)
                  being helped to achieve a series of tasks using soft tennis balls on a smaller court, with the
                  end objective (ITN 10) being a beginner that can serve/return/rally on a full court using a
                  normal ball …. a player ready to participate in and enjoy competition.

                  The Taskforce believes that the ITN 10 category is vital to the future growth of the game and that
                  creating these sub-categories will ensure that a person can be included in the ITN system as soon
                  as they begin tennis. This will help attract and retain new players in tennis.




    How will players be rated?
                  The method of rating players can vary depending on the situation in the country, region or club
                  and could include the following:

                  • Self-rating: players can rate themselves using the Description of Standard
                    guidelines provided.
                  • Independent verifiers/classifiers: some of the national associations may want to pass the
                    responsibility for rating players to independent persons who understand the ITN system.
                    This person could be the club coach, club manager or tournament director. Some national
                    associations have already produced videos to help classifiers with their task.
                  • Computer: it is envisaged that some countries may use computers as a means of helping
                    players to be rated. Interactive programmes can be developed which allow players to
                    answer questions which in turn lead them to their correct rating. Computers can also be
                    used to reclassify players’ ratings based on results obtained in ‘rated’ tournaments.

                  It is recognised that no method of rating can be totally accurate in all cases. Regardless
                  of the method used initially to rate players, once the player begins to play matches at their
                  level (i.e. within their relative ITN rating category), their rating should move (according to
                  results against other rated players) to the correct ITN category within a relatively short time.




5
How will the ITF International Tennis Number (ITN)
be used in ITF Member Nations?
              For those countries that do not currently have a national rating system in place, players can be
              rated by following the Description of Standard chart and using it to determine which ITN best
              describes their present ability. Players in these countries will hold only one rating - the ITF
              International Tennis Number (ITN).

              Once rated, a player’s ITN will move up or down as a direct result of matches played in ‘rated’
              competitions in each country. The ITF will be providing a simple calculation system linked to
              competitive play, which can be used (manually or by computer) from club to national level to
              adjust a player’s ITN rating according to results.

              For those countries with established national rating systems, the ITF has developed a
              Comparison Chart (see page 7). This chart compares the rating categories of those countries with
              the various ITN levels. Once the ITN is launched the players in these countries in effect will hold
              two ratings - their national rating and the corresponding ITN.

              These countries will continue to calculate the national rating of their players as before and as
              players move up or down their national rating categories, so their ITN will also move up and
              down according to the Comparison Chart.

              The Comparison Chart will also provide to those countries implementing a national rating system
              additional information that can be used when evaluating and determining the appropriate ITN
              for their players.




                                                                                                                    6
    ITN Conversion Chart

    ITN    AUSTRALIA BELGIUM        CANADA    FRANCE      GBR   ITALY    MOROCCO N’LANDS      SPAIN      SWEDEN   SWITZ   USA



     1        N1      A Int’l         7.0     1st série   1.1   Cat. 1   1st série   Cat 1   No 1- 150    Above    N1     7.0
                      A Nat’l         6.5    Promotion    1.2    2.1                                      600p     N2     6.5
                      B-15/4                     -30      1.3    2.2
                    (23bis-35bis)               -15

     2        N2      B-15/4          6.0      -4/6       1.4    2.3       -30       Cat 2   No 151 -     401-     N3     6.0
              N3    (50bis-65bis)     5.5      -2/6       1.5    2.4        -15                 300       600p            5.5
              N4      B-15/2                     0                         -4/6
                      (100bis)


     3        N5      B-15/1          5.0       1/6       2.1    2.5       -2/6      Cat 3   3rd cat.     301-     N4     5.0
                       B-15                     2/6              2.6         0               Group 10     400p
                      B-4/6                     3/6                        2/6

     4        N6      B-2/6           4.5       4/6       2.2    2.7       4/6       Cat 4   3rd cat.     201-     R1     4.5
              N7       B-0                      5/6       2.3    2.8        15               Group 9      300p
                      B+2/6                     15                         15/1

     5        N8      B +4/6          4.0      15/1       3.1    3.1       15/2      Cat 5    3rd cat.     61-     R2     4.0
              N9                               15/2              3.2       15/4              Group 8      200p

     6       N10       C +15          3.5      15/3       3.2    3.3        30       Cat 6    3rd cat.     51-     R3     3.5
              N11                              15/4       4.1    3.4                         Group 7      60p

     7       N12     C +15/2          3.0      15/5       4.2    3.5       30/1      Cat 6    3rd cat.    50p      R4     3.0
                                                30        5.1    4.1                         Group 6&5

     8       N13     C +15/4          2.5      30/1       5.2    4.2       30/2      Cat 7    3rd cat.     NR      R5     2.5
                                               30/2       6.1    4.3                         Group 4&3

     9       N14      C +30           2.0      30/3       6.2    4.4       NR        Cat 8    3rd cat.     NR      R6     2.0
             N15                               30/4       6.3                                Group 2

    10       N16     C +30/2          1.5      30/5       7.1    4.5       NR        Cat 9    3rd cat.     NR      R7     1.5
             N17     C +30/4                              7.2                                 Group 1
                                                          7.3

    10.1     N18        NR            1.0       NR         8     NR        NR         NR        NR         NR      NR     1.0
    to       N19
    10.3     N20




7
The different competitive groups
              The Taskforce gave a great deal of thought to the different competitive groups in a country
              such as juniors, veterans and wheelchair tennis players. However it was decided that only one
              international tennis rating system would be operated and that juniors, veterans and wheelchair
              tennis players would be rated within the same system based on their current level of play.

              The issue of doubles was also considered but again it was felt that a separate doubles rating
              would complicate the project at this time. However, for doubles matches the rating of the team
              should be determined by combining both players’ ITN and arriving at an average. A calculation
              system has been developed to allow doubles results to be counted towards the singles ITN of
              each player.

              There will be only one Description of Standard used for both men and women. However because it
              is recognised that the level of an ITN rated man will be different to that of a similarly rated female
              player, there will be separate male and female ITN scales e.g. an ITN 2 rated man would not be the
              same as an ITN 2 rated female. The Taskforce intends to look to develop some guidelines to
              facilitate competition between men and women particularly at the recreational level.


What about handicapping?
              The Taskforce believes that an effective handicapping system for tennis could play an important
              role in increasing participation specifically at the recreational level and therefore has developed
              a handicapping system to facilitate play between players of different competitive levels. They
              believe that a form of ‘free points’ handicapping could be used effectively for players where the
              difference in level is not too great (e.g. when the average set score is between 7/6 and 6/2).

              However the Taskforce concluded that establishing effective handicapping for play when the
              difference in level is too great (6/0 or 6/1) was at this time unrealistic and ultimately ineffective.

              The system proposed involves the weaker player taking, as and when he decides, a fixed number
              of free points in each set. The following chart is a guide which can be used to ensure that a match
              is closer and so more interesting and enjoyable for the players concerned.



                   AVERAGE SCORE WHEN PLAYING                                   FREE POINTS AVAILABLE TO
               WITHOUT USING A HANDICAPPING SYSTEM                             THE WEAKER PLAYER PER SET

                                    7/5 7/6                                               0–3 points

                                       6–4                                                2–4 points

                                        6–3                                               3–6 points

                                       6–2                                                5–8 points



              It should be noted that the Taskforce does not recommend that results from handicapped
              matches be included in any rating system or count towards a player’s rating.




                                                                                                                       8
    ITN calculation system
                  Once players have been rated, they will begin playing competitions. It will then be necessary,
                  on the basis of matches played, to re-classify the ratings of players on a regular basis.

                  Obviously, national associations will have to decide on the best method of calculation which suits
                  the particular conditions in their country. Some countries will choose to use a very simple
                  systems while others may choose to use a more sophisticated system. Cost and administrative
                  time will be a major factor in this decision.

                  The Taskforce has developed a simple low cost calculation system for re-classifying players.
                  The head-to-head system can be operated manually or with a computer using a simple excel
                  spreadsheet. The player receives positive points for beating players rated equal to or better than
                  them and negative points for losing to players rated below them. The sum of their points will be
                  used to re-classify their ITN on a regular basis.

                  In addition, as mentioned before, the ITF has developed a calculation system that allows results
                  in doubles to count towards the singles ITN of each player. National associations can then decide
                  if they wish doubles results to be included in the national rating system.



    New scoring systems and competition formats
                  Over the past few years, the ITF Rules of Tennis have changed and they now allow a number
                  of different scoring systems to be used in competitive play. These changes allow national
                  associations, clubs and tournament organisers to better adapt the competition to the needs
                  of the participants.

                  The new scoring systems include:

                  • No-Ad scoring system: at ‘deuce’, one deciding point is played to determine the winner
                    of the game. The receiver decides to which service court this last point is to be played.
                  • Short sets: The first player/team to win four games, wins that set, provided there is
                    a margin of two games over the opponent(s). If the score reaches four games all,
                    a tie-break game shall be played.
                  • Deciding Tie-break game: When the score in a match is one set all, or two sets all in best
                    of five set matches, one tie-break game shall be played to decide the match. This tie-break
                    game replaces the deciding final set.

                  In addition a number of creative competition formats which guarantee players more than one
                  match are also being encouraged. These include round robin, box leagues, feed-in consolation
                  and rated/progressive draws.

                  Whichever scoring system or format is used, it is envisaged that all competitions at national,
                  regional or club level will use the ITN rating categories as the basis for organising tournaments.



    The Tennis Ratings Manual
                  A manual has been compiled to assist national associations with the introduction of the tennis
                  rating system at national level. The Manual provides a step by step guide to implementing and
                  managing the ITN and outlines ways that the ITN can be used to increase participation in tennis.




9
The ITN and Coaching
               The ITN will be an effective tool with which club coaches can work. In addition to the competitive
               programme within a club, coaches will also be able to use the ITN as the basis
               for organising and tailoring coaching programmes to specific ITN groups of players in the club.
               It is also expected that the coaches will be involved in the initial rating of club members by
               running regular ITN rating clinics.


The Way Forward
               The ITN is being launched in January 2003 at the 2003 Australian Open when Tennis Australia
               becomes the first ITF member nation to adopt the ITN as their official national tennis rating
               system. A number of other national associations are already planning to introduce the ITN and it
               is envisaged that the ‘pilot project’ in Australia will be a valuable case study, providing important
               information for other national associations wanting to launch the ITN in their own countries.

               The ITF, together with the Taskforce and their respective national associations, is also looking at
               ways to promote the ITN worldwide. A thorough promotional effort is important to the successful
               implementation of the ITN. Generic material is being developed to be used by ITF member
               nations to inform players of the ITN and its benefits, as well as an ITF website dedicated to the
               International Tennis Number (www.internationaltennisnumber.com).

               Promotion through coaches and tournament organisers worldwide is also vital to the success of
               the ITN, and at the recent ITF Regional Coaches Workshops held during 2002, over 1000 of the
               world’s top coaches representing close to 120 nations were introduced to the ITN.

               We recognise that the success of the International Tennis Number will be measured by its ability
               to be implemented at the club and recreational level and we encourage each country to focus on
               this. The more the ITN is used as a base for recreational and competitive activities, the more it
               will grow in popularity and acceptance.

               The ITF believe that the ITN can have a big impact on tennis participation worldwide.


               We are ready to begin to ‘Rate the Tennis World’... Are you ready?

               The ITN…what’s your number?


The ITF International Tennis Ratings Taskforce
               Dave Miley, ITF
               Peter Johnston, Tennis Australia
               Martin Reiter, Tennis Austria
               Allard Elema, Dutch Tennis Federation (KNLTB)
               Jean-Francois Magne, French Tennis Federation (FFT)
               Wolfgang Burkhardt, German Tennis Federation (DTB)
               Martin Rands, Lawn Tennis Association of Great Britain (LTA)
               David Schobel, United States Tennis Association (USTA)
               Frank Couraud, ITF
               Miguel Crespo, ITF




                                                                                                                       10
what’s your number?




International Tennis Number




For further information please contact:

International Tennis Number
ITF
Bank Lane
Roehampton
London SW15 5XZ
UK

Tel:           44 208 878 6464
Fax:           44 208 392 4742
E-mail:        internationaltennisnumber@itftennis.com
Web:           www.internationaltennisnumber.com


The ITN…what’s your number?




Designed by One London
Contributing photographers
Ron Angle, William Crabb, Gepa Pictures,
Rien Hokken, Susan Mullane, Paul Zimmer

								
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